The Suffolk County jury, which will determine whether drug manufacturers and distributors are liable for the opioid epidemic that has killed thousands of Long Island residents, received instructions Monday from State Supreme Court Justice Jerry Garguilo.
Opening arguments in the lawsuit filed by Suffolk, Nassau and New York Attorney General Letitia James alleging drug manufacturers and distributors have aggressively promoted opioid pain relievers in communities while minimizing their dangers are reported in the Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law on Tuesday Center of Touro College in Central Islip.
The New York opioid trial will be the first of its kind in the nation to be brought before a jury set to be heard by hundreds of witnesses.
“We will be able to tell the judges for the first time our story about what has happened in the last two decades in terms of the advertising, marketing of opioids and distribution of opioids that created this massif.” Flooding in all of our communities in the country, “said Simmons, Hanly and Conroy attorney Jayne Conroy, who represents Suffolk. We start here because the problem is dire in Suffolk County, Nassau County and New York State.”
State and county officials hope to hold companies accountable for the death and misery caused by the opioid epidemic – and get back hundreds of millions of dollars in treatment, recovery and prevention.
“Everyone has lost a family member or a friend or a family member of a friend,” said Napoli Shkolniik’s Hunter Shkolnik, an attorney who represents Nassau County. “It has been described as the crime of the century what happened to the opioid epidemic. We are going to set it out in this courtroom and this will be the first time all players and their bad behavior are shown” the people of the United States not just on Long Island. “
Defendants include Teva Pharmaceuticals, Endo Pharmaceuticals, Allegan Finance, Cardinal Health, McKesson Corp. and Amerisource Bergen.
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Another defendant – Johnson & Johnson – agreed to an 11-hour settlement to pay the state up to $ 230 million, the attorney general said on Saturday.
The lawsuit could serve as a template for a future national settlement with drug manufacturers and distributors, said public health experts and lawyers.
Michael O’Keeffe covers Suffolk County Police and other Long Island law enforcement agencies. He is an award-winning journalist and co-author of two books, “The Card” and “American Icon”.